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Family Physician

Family physicians are licensed to diagnose and treat patients' diseases, physiological and psychiatric disorders, injuries and other health-related problems.

  • Avg. Salary N/A
  • Avg. Wage N/A
  • Minimum Education 8+ years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 7,700
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Doctor, Family Doctor, General Practitioner, Medical Doctor

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: General Practitioners and Family Physicians (3112) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: General Practitioners and Family Physicians (D012) 
  • 2011 NOC: General practitioners and family physicians (3112) 
Interest Codes
The Family Physician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
General Practitioners and Family Physicians

Interest in precision working to diagnose diseases, prescribe treatments and provide continuous care to patients


Interest in mentoring by providing counselling and support to patients and their families on a wide range of health and lifestyle issues, by advising patients and their families on health care including health promotion and disease, illness and accident prevention and by referring patients to specialists


Interest in co-ordinating information from the results of medical tests to advise patients on health care options; in providing acute care management, in co-ordinating or managing primary patient care and in supervising home care services

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 10, 2017

Family physicians work to diagnose and treat their patients' physical and mental diseases, disorders, injuries and other health-related problems.

In general, family physicians:

  • take medical histories and examine patients
  • order, perform and interpret medical tests to diagnose health-related problems
  • determine appropriate treatments which may include lifestyle change, surgery, medication, or more complex treatment or rehabilitation programs
  • counsel patients on preventative health care and lifestyle including diet and activity
  • refer patients to specialist physicians as necessary
  • participate in health care teams and co-ordinate their work with other physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other health care providers
  • teach and train students and conduct research
  • act as advocates for patients and help create, organize and implement changes in communities to improve overall health
  • maintain comprehensive medical records.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 10, 2017

Family physicians' working conditions depend on the type of position. They may work in hospitals, clinics, offices and community settings. In a typical day, most family physicians see a succession of patients, sometimes in a variety of settings which requires a considerable amount of time driving to hospitals, clinics, nursing homes or patients' homes. The work is rewarding, but can be challenging and emotionally demanding.

Family physicians often work very long hours. They may work rotating shifts or be on call. They generally spend part of their time standing to examine or treat patients, and part of their time at a desk completing paperwork.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 10, 2017

Family physicians need the following characteristics:

  • the intellectual ability required to successfully complete the required academic training and to continue learning life long
  • the ability to get along with people and instill confidence
  • the stamina required to work long hours
  • emotional strength and maturity
  • good communication skills
  • the ability to work effectively in a health care team.

They should enjoy finding solutions to problems, dealing with people and co-ordinating the work of others.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 10, 2017

Family physicians must complete:

  1. pre-medicine studies at the university level
  2. a three or four year Medical Doctor (MD) degree program at an accredited university
  3. post-graduate training in family medicine.

Because MD programs are quota programs, many applicants who fulfill the entrance requirements cannot be accepted. Successful applicants are selected on the basis of:

  • academic grades
  • letters of recommendation
  • personal interviews
  • the results of a Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

After successfully completing an MD program, candidates must train for a minimum of an additional two years to be granted an independent practice license with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta.

Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

University of Alberta

University of Calgary

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 10, 2017

Physician, Surgeon and Osteopath

Physicians and surgeons assess the physical, mental and psychosocial condition of individuals to establish a diagnosis; assist individuals to make informed choices about medical and surgical treatments; treat physical, mental and psychosocial conditions; promote wellness, injury avoidance, disease prevention and cure through research and education; and engage in research, education and administration with respect to health. Osteopaths use manual techniques to assess, diagnose and treat diseases, disorders and dysfunctions of the body's structure.


Under Alberta's Health Professions Act and Physicians, Surgeons and Osteopaths Profession Regulation, you must be a registered member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) to practice medicine in Alberta.

What You Need

Registration requires successful completion of: (1) an approved medical doctor or doctor of osteopathic medicine degree, (2) two years of acceptable post-graduate training in family medicine or four or more years of acceptable post-graduate training in a specialization, and (3) approved examinations. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit the CPSA website or contact CPSA.

Working in Alberta

Physicians, surgeons and osteopaths who are registered by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered physicians, surgeons and osteopaths in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To find more information on the certification process for internationally educated physicians, surgeons and osteopaths, see General Practitioner & Family Physician Licensing Process and Specialist Physician Licensing Process on the website.

Contact Details

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta
2700, 10020 - 100 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada  T5J 0N3
Phone number: 780-423-4764
Toll-free phone number (within Alberta): 1-800-561-3899
Fax number: 780-420-0651

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 10, 2017

Many family physicians work in private practice clinics or are employed by regional health authorities. Others are employed in:

  • medical research
  • public health
  • occupational medicine
  • health administration
  • overseas service
  • military service.

Family physicians may continue their education to specialize in other areas such as sports medicine. For a current list of recognized specializations, see the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) websites.

Family physicians are part of the 2011 National Occupational Classification 3112: General practitioners and family physicians. In Alberta, 94% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 2,500 Albertans are employed in the General practitioners and family physicians occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.7% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 93 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As family physicians form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for family physicians.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 10, 2017

Family physicians in private practice are self-employed. Their incomes vary considerably depending on location, specialty, number of patient visits and the cost of running a medical office.

According to the 2013 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the General Practioners and Family Physicians occupational group earned on average from $98.24 to $121.23 an hour. The overall average wage was $114.55 an hour. More recent data is not available.

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
    • Human and Social Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 10, 2017

Alberta College of Family Physicians (ACFP) website:

Alberta Medical Association (AMA) website:

College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) website:

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) website:

Medical Council of Canada (MCC) website:

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) website:


For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 24, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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